The Contract: An Inspirational Thriller

It is my privilege today to host two friends and former colleagues, John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano, who have teamed up to combine their formidable talents and skills to bring us this exciting new book, “The Contract”. I’m sure this book will be an excellent read and I invite you to follow the links and pick up your copy without delay.

The CONTRACT between heaven and earth

By John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano

Thank you, John, for inviting us to join you today. We are so grateful to be featured on your lovely blog. With you, we breathe in and exhale gratitude.

The Contract

 

Available on Kindle and Paperback

Kindle priced at $0.99 for the introduction.

The CONTRACT is a different story for writers John W. Howell and Gwen M. Plano. For either of them, it is their first attempt at co-authorship. After a year of Hurricane Harvey and other challenges, they have created, what they have termed, an inspirational thriller that bridges heaven and earth.

Here is the blurb:

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.

Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States. The terrorists have a plan for global dominance, and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires.

Trailer

Here is an excerpt.

Sarah didn’t know what to say. The room flickered with candlelight and the fireplace crackled with its flames, but the tenderness in Brad’s eyes warmed her heart the most. The evening had taken a turn she hadn’t expected but welcomed.

Sarah said, “I guess there’s a lot I don’t know about you, not the least of which is that you appreciate The Prophet. Do you write poetry?”

“My poetry isn’t worth sharing.” Brad shook his head. “I write it, but I keep it locked up in my desk. How about you?” Brad stared at Sarah intently, as if trying to read her soul.

“I, ah, I write very little poetry. You know, I don’t have any formal writing background, and I feel that handicap when I attempt to write poems. It has so many rules to follow, which I don’t know, and that makes me feel hesitant to even try. Sometimes, though, the moment demands a poem, and then I write.” Sarah smiled.

“I like that phrase, sometimes the moment demands a poem. Don’t you think this is one of those moments?” Brad reached across the table and placed his hand on hers. Though a simple act, it awakened a storm of emotions in Sarah. As much as she tried not to, her eyes welled with tears. She didn’t feel sad, not at all, but Brad’s gentleness brought her into her own vulnerable heart.

Authors Bio.

John Howell Head shotGwen's headshot

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. The last, Circumstances of Childhood is a family life thriller story and launched October 2017. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

John’s other books.

Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

Gwen had a lengthy career in higher education, and it was there that she published her first book, Beyond Boundaries, for students interested in volunteer work in developing countries. After she retired, she wrote her award-winning memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwen lives in Branson, Missouri with her husband.

Gwen’s books.

Available on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2wdXsrn

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – 50 Years Later

Today is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. A tribute by Jill Dennison

Doctor Martin Luther King Jr. was a giant among men. He led by his words, his actions, and the way he lived his life. Today, I have the distinct privilege to welcome one of the most gifted bloggers I know and my very good friend, Jill Dennison, to Words To Captivate. Jill has taught college courses in the USA on Black History in America and is an ardent fan of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. On this 50th anniversary of MLK’s assassination, it is fitting that Jill shares with us how important this leader was in his own day and continues to be in the present because his work is not yet done. Thank you, Jill, for agreeing to be my guest today.

 

Every now and then an individual passes through this world who leaves behind an indelible mark, who is credited, deservingly, with having changed the world. Such an individual will be recorded in the annals of history long after the rest of us are but a vague and distant memory to future generations. Often, it seems, these individuals do not live long, leave much undone, but still, they made a difference far greater than those who may live to be a hundred. The life of one such man was cut short exactly fifty years ago today. That man was Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

New York Times Article

There are numerous King biographies, some excellent. Many have written of his life, have paid tribute to him in a variety of ways. It is not my intent to add another to the tall stack, but merely to look at what it was that set MLK apart, that made him the shining star that influenced presidents and ordinary folk alike. And to pay a bit of tribute to a great man, and speak briefly of the legacy he left that, though it seems to be forgotten sometimes, is still with us today, even though Dr. King is not. Three things, I think, set Martin Luther King apart from the rest: his uncanny ability to know the right words for the right time, his oratory ‘gift’, and his peaceful, nonviolent approach.

MLK with a little girl

Some things cannot be learned – not from a textbook, not from parental or church guidance, nor even from life’s experiences. King’s timing in most things was impeccable, and it wasn’t something he learned, but rather just a knack he had. He knew when it was time to speak softly, but knew when it was time to raise his voice. He knew when the time and cause were right, such as when he organized the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955-56. He seemed to simply understand that Rosa Parks was the right cause and that the timing was right.

MLK + I have a dream quote

To this day, I cannot listen to King’s I Have A Dream speech without a chill running through me and tears welling in my eyes. Never before nor since have I heard anybody who could speak like Martin Luther King – not even John F. Kennedy, though he was an excellent orator. There was something about Martin, though, that made people listen, whether he was speaking quietly or booming into a microphone. You might not agree with what he was saying, but you could not help but listen. This, too, was a gift – it was not a learned skill, not even a talent really, not something practiced – it just was.

MLK in jail

Martin Luther King was, above all else, a peaceful activist. Despite this, he was arrested and sent to jail no less than 29 times during his life! One of those times was for driving 30 mph in a 25 mph zone – no racial profiling here! It was during one of his stints in the Birmingham, Alabama jail in 1963 that King penned what would become his most famous written document, Letter From A Birmingham Jail. He wrote the letter on newspaper margins, scraps of paper and smuggled-in legal pads. He had no notes or reference materials. His letter is timeless and so much of it still resonates today, 55 years later. For example, he called out the white church for being an “arch supporter of the status quo,” and castigated its ministers for failing to recognize the black man as their brother. We look at the evangelical Christian churches today and wish we could send a copy of King’s letter to each and every one. The letter is long … nearly 7,000 words … thus I cannot replicate it here but will include a link to the .pdf file for anyone who would like to read it.

https://web.cn.edu/kwheeler/documents/Letter_Birmingham_Jail.pdf

And later that year, in August, Martin gave his iconic I Have A Dream speech that touched the hearts of so many.

 

Many, perhaps most, believe that King was killed because he was becoming too radical, steering further than just wanting “whites only” signs taken down. His focus had expanded to include the war in Vietnam, and in 1968 he was trying to build an interracial coalition to end the war in Vietnam and force major economic reforms. There are many theories about his assassination that I steer clear of, for as with the assassination of JFK almost five years earlier, I suspect the full truth will never be known. I prefer, instead, to focus on his legacy, to remember and remind others of the timeless lessons that he left us. The essence of Martin Luther King’s legacy, I think, can be summed by a few of his most poignant quotes:

MLK Quote: Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

MLK Quote: The Ultimate measure of a man...

MLK Quote: In the end...

MLK Quote: Injustice anywhere...

MLK Quote: That old law...

MLK Quote: Darkness cannot drive...

Did Martin Luther King put an end to racism? No, of course not. But he showed the world that it is possible, with determination, strength, and courage, to make a difference without the use of violence. He proved to us that it is possible to love everyone as brothers if we just open our hearts and our minds. Sadly, far too many have forgotten this, and today when I look around, I see nobody with those innate qualities Dr. King had that gave him the power to change the world, to open people’s hearts and minds with words rather than guns. We need another Dr. Martin Luther King. After 50 years, we still miss Dr. Martin Luther King.

*************************

A Bit of MLK trivia …

• He skipped two grades and left for college before formally graduating high school. Entering Morehouse College at the age of 15, he was accepted as part of an early admittance program that was aimed to boost enrollment during the war. Dr. King received a bachelor’s degree at age 19.

• Upon marrying his wife, Coretta, he realized that it was not very easy for him to go on a honeymoon due to his skin color, so they ended up having it at a friend’s funeral parlor.

• On September 20, 1958, King was in Harlem signing copies of his new book, “Stride Toward Freedom,” in Blumstein’s department store when he was approached by Izola Ware Curry. The woman asked if he was Martin Luther King Jr. After he said yes, Curry said, “I’ve been looking for you for five years,” and she plunged a seven-inch letter opener into his chest. The tip of the blade came to rest alongside his aorta, and King underwent hours of delicate emergency surgery. Surgeons later told King that just one sneeze could have punctured the aorta and killed him. From his hospital bed where he convalesced for weeks, King issued a statement affirming his nonviolent principles and saying he felt no ill will toward his mentally ill attacker.

• In 1964, at the age of 35, King won the Nobel Peace Prize. To this day he is still the youngest male to ever receive it.

• On June 30, 1974, as Dr. King’s mother, 69-year-old Alberta Williams King played the organ at a Sunday service inside Ebenezer Baptist Church. Marcus Wayne Chenault Jr. rose from the front pew, drew two pistols and began to fire shots. One of the bullets struck and killed Ms. King, who died steps from where her son had preached nonviolence. The deranged gunman said that Christians were his enemy and that although he had received divine instructions to kill King’s father, who was in the congregation, he killed King’s mother instead because she was closer. The shooting also left a church deacon dead. Chenault received a death penalty sentence that was later changed to life imprisonment, in part due to the King family’s opposition to capital punishment.

• As a result of helping organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott that lasted 385 days, King was not only arrested but his house was also bombed.

• There are two places outside of the United States that celebrate MLK day: Toronto, Canada, and Hiroshima, Japan.

 

Guest Post: Tina Frisco – On Facing Death

Facing death is a life-changing experience. Where did spirit come from in the first place? Many of us astral travel but refer to it as dreaming. Is there a difference between soul and spirit? I no longer see death as a monster – nor do I fear it.

It is my pleasure and privilege to welcome Tina Frisco, author, blogger, singer-songwriter, RN, activist, a student of shamanism and friend, to Words To Captivate. Death is a difficult thing to face, but Tina puts a different face on it.

On Facing Death

Facing death is a life-changing experience and one that most of us fear. The first time I faced this monster, I paced and cried, ranted and cursed its arrogance. The second time, I tightened my mid-section and refused to acknowledge it; but I couldn’t sleep. The third time, I took in a deep breath, sat down, and closed my eyes. In a flash, I saw myriad lifetimes pass before me – incarnations I was fortunate to have lived.

What is it about physical death that throws so many of us into a tailspin of grief, anger, and denial? Is it not knowing whether life continues beyond the body? Is it not knowing what awaits us on the other side? Is it not wanting to leave the glorious sensations afforded us on the physical plane? Whether or not we believe in an afterlife, death is often viewed as The Grim Reaper.

Not believing in life after death implies that spirit – the dynamic force animating us – dies with the physical body. But that scenario begs the question: Where did spirit come from in the first place? It can’t be traced scientifically in the same way we trace a being from zygote to birth. So is spirit a mere product or side effect of brainwaves and a heartbeat? In contrast, believing in life after death is based solely on faith. Or is it?

Enlightened beings walking among us speak of the other side in many different ways and languages, vividly describing the magnificent beauty awaiting us. They proclaim to travel back and forth at will. My shaman teacher refers to this as going to the faraway and returning; as living with a foot in two worlds.

Traveling to the other side and returning at will is not the same as envisioning or astral projecting. The former is a function of the mind. The latter – even though it can be honed and perfected – does not require proficiency; it can occur randomly and may not be recognized for what it is. Many of us astral travel but refer to it as dreaming. Yet we often sense it is in some way different – a live dream, a vivid dream, a dream that was more than just a dream.

The gap between living with a foot in two worlds and faith alone is bridged by experience. Many religious leaders profess the certainty of heaven, paradise, nirvana, as well as hell, hades, the netherworld. Yet most of them have never traveled to any of these places and returned to tell the tale. Again, we could argue that those who claim to go to the faraway and return are charlatans. That is until we speak and work with them. That is until we experience this ourselves.

I’ve had many moments of experiencing the other side and returning. And they were just that – moments in time. I suspect this is due to a belief that growth occurs slowly. Yet I know change can occur in a split second and not merely as a result of developing growth. Take, for example, the mother who lifts an automobile off of her child. Seconds before this, she most likely would have laughed at the prospect, believing herself incapable. Since beliefs are embedded by a lifetime of coding, such an act cannot be attributed to a mere surge of adrenaline or the mere wish for her child to survive.

So how did she accomplish this impossible feat? Consider the 90% of brain power we allow to sit idle. Could tapping into this be the answer? If we accessed the full capabilities of our brains, might we see the infinite possibilities of The Universe? Might we then know, without a doubt, what lies beyond the physical?

And what of the soul? Is there a difference between soul and spirit? Here’s a snippet of conversation between two characters in my latest novel, Vampyrie:

W’Hyani: The soul is life. It is who we are in a physical body. The spirit is what the physical body has dwelling within. It is part of The Divine and connects us to The Divine. The soul and the spirit are wed but are not the same.

Phoebe: So the soul is our psyche – that which makes us who we are as human beings. And the spirit is our essence – that which we are without a body, that which animates the body, and that which is immaterial to the body.

The soul is who we are in a physical body. Could it be that our souls keep a tight rein on our spirits? When we incarnate, we must forget who we truly are in order to accomplish the lessons we came here to learn. Perhaps the soul is the guardian of the portal to enlightenment, granting access if and only when our lessons have been completed.

W’Hyani lives with a foot in two worlds and has experienced traveling to the faraway and returning. When our spirits span the divide between here and there, we clearly see the dreaming brain as a function of the physical, as well as the mastermind of the illusion we’ve come to know as reality. When seated in the faraway, we know we have come home to the absolute, to the truth of who we are. We feel the expansiveness of The Universe and know ourselves as an integral part of – rather than separate from – The Divine. We sit in knowing rather than in faith or belief.

Having experienced this for mere moments at a time, I long for a more substantial (dare I say, permanent) experience and one I can manifest at will. Meditation serves me in this pursuit, for it is the one and only place I can go to come home to myself.

I no longer see death as a monster, nor do I fear it. If there is any fear left in me, it’s relative to missing the first chirping of the birds in spring, the glorious sunsets over the ocean, the mysterious winking of the moon through drifting fog.

Life on Mother Earth is relative and ephemeral. Pausing to breathe and close our eyes, if only for a moment, draws us into the omniscient and eternal realm of spirit and allows us to sense the infinite breadth of existence.

I wish for all of you, my dear friends, release from the fear of death and the experience of living with a foot in two worlds…

Namaste

Tina Frisco is the author of 3 books:

Plateau: Beyond the TreesPlateau book cover: W’Hyani was born strong, willful, and the predestined Keeper of the Crystal Heart, the key to unlocking the mystery of the Great Mosaic of Life. Unaware of the shard’s significance, W’Hyani’s fortitude is tested by the cosmic forces that sculpted her destiny. She ultimately comes face-to-face with herself in a battle that would shrink the will of the most intrepid warrior, unaware the realization of her destiny will irrevocably impact all beings on earth and beyond. The Great Mosaic of Life holds a message of hope that would allow us to see and live beyond the year 2012.

Gabby and the QuadsBook cover for Gabby and the QuadsGabby is an only child who is about to become a big sister to quadruplets! How will she handle this? Her parents decide on a unique approach to introduce her to and help her accept this awesome experience. Follow Gabby as she learns all about babies and the joy of loving.

 

 

 

VampyrieBook cover for Vampyrie: What if vampires were not the undead, but rather the dying? What if there were two factions among vampires: the sustained and the unsustainable? And what if those factions were at war with one another over the life of a young woman who promised them a future? Vampyrie brings the myth of the vampire into the realm of possibility.

Phoebe Angelina Delaney is a reluctant genius and compassionate hothead. She finds herself in a pitch-dark underground and doesn’t remember how she got there. Did she drink too much alcohol and wander off in a stupor, or was she kidnapped by a malicious element determined to make her life a living hell?

Sir Michael Alan David is a vampire – an enigma, charismatic and mysterious, who weaves in and out of Phoebe’s life. Does he intend to use his title as a ruse to draw her closer to an unearthly fate, or is he a cloak-and-dagger knight in shining armor?

Too many secrets have been kept for too long. Phoebe must unravel the mystery in order to survive. Two major characters from the author’s first novel, Plateau, join forces with Phoebe to battle the demons in Vampyrie.

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